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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 89-91

Sir U.N. Brahmachari and his battle against Kala-Azar

1 Department of Zoology, P. R. Thakur Government College, Thakurnagar, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Microbiology, Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences and Sri Padmavathi Medical College (Women), Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Microbioology, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Ardhendu Kumar Maji
Department of Microbioology, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata - 700 073, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tp.tp_48_21

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Kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis was at one time a scourge in the Bengal Presidency of British India comprising the present Indian states of Bengal, Bihar, Assam, and Odisha. The disease was rampant along the Ganga and Brahmaputra River adjoining areas. In the early 1900s, the treatment initiated was by the intravenous injection of tartar emetic, which had a narrow safety level and long-term use was marked with multiple side effects. In 1920, Upendranath Brahmachari discovered urea stibamine, which is the urea salt of para-amino phenyl stibnic acid and it revolutionized the treatment of Kala-azar with >90% cure rate and with minimal side effects. He is also credited with the description of post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis. He was conferred the knighthood of the British Empire as recognition of his important contribution. Although his name was twice nominated for Nobel Prize, unfortunately, he never received it.

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